Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Extension Granted for GOA’s Temporary Restraining Order on ATF’s Pistol Brace Regulation Pending Legal Resolution

(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Gun Owners of America (GOA), alongside the Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) and the state of Texas, have successfully extended their provisional restraining order against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) new regulation on pistol stabilizing devices, officially known as the Final Rule 2021R-08F. This extension remains in place until a final verdict in the case, State of Texas v. ATF, is reached.

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The challenged ATF regulation has redefined most pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles (SBRs), bringing them under the stringent regulations of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). As a result, firearm owners are now required to register their firearms with the ATF, undergo additional background checks, submit fingerprints, and provide passport photos.

For gun owners who wish to avoid registering their pistols, the ATF has outlined four options: surrendering the pistol to law enforcement, fitting a barrel longer than 16 inches, permanently removing the brace, or destroying the firearm entirely.

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This ATF ruling sparked a wave of lawsuits seeking a nationwide restraining order prior to its implementation date of June 1, 2023. Various injunctions were granted, including one by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) in a Texas District Court, another by the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and one by the GOA in a Texas District Court. However, these injunctions were limited in scope, protecting only the members of the respective organizations. All injunctions were issued before the deadline.

The extensions granted for these preliminary injunctions serve as temporary measures, providing the courts with additional time to deliver a final judgment. Judge Drew B. Tipton has now decided to prolong the GOA's provisional restraining order until the conclusion of the case, emphasizing the necessity of this "extraordinary remedy" to preserve the current state of affairs.

Several factors played into the decision to grant the injunction. Foremost was the likelihood of the plaintiffs' success based on the case's merits. Judge Tipton referenced the Mock v. Garland ruling, in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the ATF had breached the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by significantly altering the Proposed Rule in the Final Rule, essentially performing a bait-and-switch.

Judge Tipton expressed his belief in the plaintiffs' impending harm without the injunction, as they would be compelled to abide by the ATF's regulation, resulting in the modification or relinquishment of their firearms. He evaluated the balance of equities and public interest, concluding that the immediate harm to the plaintiff outweighed the speculative, administrative harm to the ATF, and declared that the public has no interest in the perpetuation of an unlawful agency action.

Although the ruling's scope is limited to GOA members, it ensures that these individuals are shielded from ATF enforcement actions regarding braced pistols for the time being. With the extensive reach of the current injunctions, millions of Americans are now indirectly protected from ATF actions, and many believe that the rule is effectively unenforceable at present, given that membership lists are not shared with the ATF.

While the ATF's Final Rule on pistols with stabilizing braces remains in a precarious position, it has not been completely overturned as of yet.

Biden's Campaign Against ‘Rogue’ Firearm Sellers Escalates to Include All Gun Merchants

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Shortly after stepping into the presidency, Joe Biden weaponized the ATF, announcing a strict policy targeting what he labeled as “rogue gun dealers,” believed by him to be a major factor in the spike of violent crimes in numerous significant U.S. cities.

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According to the President, “rogue gun dealers” are those Federal Firearm Licensees who intentionally sell firearms to unauthorized individuals or who reject compliance with ATF’s tracing requests.

In a statement from June 2021, Biden referred to such dealers as “merchants of death,” committing illegal acts for financial gain. He sternly stated, “We will find you and we will strip your license to sell firearms. You will no longer be able to distribute death and chaos on our streets.”

However, it has become evident that Biden’s ATF is now casting a wider net, scrutinizing all gun dealers and not just the “rogue” ones as initially defined by the president. There has been a significant surge in the revocation of Federal Firearm Licenses, predominantly for minor clerical errors. Many gun dealers have expressed their concerns, noting a stark contrast in their interactions with the ATF before and after Biden’s presidency.

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A seasoned gun dealer from the East Coast has recently had his Federal Firearms License revoked. Opting to remain anonymous, he expressed his desire to possibly challenge this matter in federal court once the current administration is out of office. He reminisced about the past when ATF’s primary focus was on rectifying minor errors to aid in smoother firearm tracing when necessary. However, this approach has drastically changed. “The interaction difference between ATF agents four years ago and now is night and day,” he remarked.

He, along with numerous other dealers, has criticized the ATF for altering their definition of a willful violation. The ATF now asserts that since every gun dealer has been instructed to submit accurate paperwork, any mistake, even if it’s a clerical error, is considered a deliberate violation of their regulations.

He explained, “Previously, a blank box could lead to an accusation of an incomplete 4473 form or another error. Now, they could accuse you of neglecting to conduct a background check, despite the buyer passing the check.”

In his most recent audit with the ATF, the dealer underwent a thorough examination of thousands of ATF Form 4473s. He stated, “There are specific data points on a 4473 form filled out by both the FFL holder and the buyer. These data points are replicated in several areas, totaling about 200 data points per transaction, which means the ATF was auditing millions of data points.”

The agents found slightly over 100 errors within the forms, all minor and clerical in nature, with none leading to a prohibited person acquiring a firearm. Before Biden’s administration, such errors would have been corrected upon discovery. However, the stakes are now much higher.

The ATF informed him of their intention to revoke his license, prompting an immediate appeal from his end. Interestingly, the officer overseeing his appeal was the same ATF agent who had signed off on his revocation letter.

He described the appeal process as internal, with a semblance of a court setting, but highlighted its non-adversarial nature. “Challenging their witnesses is akin to challenging the court itself,” he noted.

The appeal resulted in the affirmation of the revocation. As mentioned earlier, the dealer is contemplating taking this issue to federal court in the future. He emphasized, “Given the adversarial stance of the current administration, it seems impractical to pursue legal avenues beyond the basic level at this time.”

It’s important to note that he was never accused of selling a firearm to an unauthorized individual, failing to adhere to a tracing request, or neglecting to conduct a background check.

This dealer, along with several others, suspects that the ATF agents are now working under a quota system for FFL revocations. “It’s a gut feeling backed by observations over the years. The entire agency’s demeanor has changed; they are no longer here to assist but to revoke licenses, which seemingly clears the field of dealers. I wouldn’t say I felt targeted personally, but there’s a palpable hunt for opportunities to revoke licenses.”

Having received job offers from other firearm dealerships, he has declined, wary of drawing unnecessary ATF attention.

In closing, he expressed his desire for Congress to either defund the ATF or significantly reduce its enforcement capabilities. He criticized the excessive use of executive orders by the President, stating, “There’s no Congressional will involved here; it’s all about the president’s will, and he is not supposed to be the one making the laws.”

Monday, October 30, 2023

A Closer Look: Maine’s Tragedy and The Missed Opportunities for Intervention

In the month preceding the most devastating mass shooting in the history of Maine, authorities were notified of indirect threats made by a U.S. Army reservist. This turned out to be one of several overlooked warning signs preceding the catastrophic event. Two high-ranking law enforcement officials conveyed that a warning to be vigilant for Robert Card, a firearms instructor, was circulated state-wide in mid-September after he made threatening remarks against his military base and fellow service members. However, despite intensifying security measures at the base and checking Card’s residence – both of which yielded no results – the situation was not pursued further.

“The additional patrols lasted about two weeks. However, the individual never made an appearance,” stated Jack Clements, the Chief of Police in Saco, where the U.S. Army Reserve base that Card attended is located. Joel Merry, the Sheriff of Sagadahoc County, which encompasses the area where Card resided, reported that his office was alerted to the threats made by the reservist in September by the Army Reserve. Subsequently, the sheriff disseminated a warning to all law enforcement agencies across the state following an unsuccessful welfare check at Card's residence. “We were unable to find him,” Merry remarked, noting that he was unsure if any additional follow-up occurred as he did not have the relevant reports immediately available.

Military representatives have refrained from providing further information about Card, particularly whether the threats reported to the sheriff in September were new or a repetition of threats made during an Army Reserve training session near West Point, New York, in July. During that time, Card was reportedly admitted to a mental health facility for a two-week period after displaying erratic behavior and expressing delusions of hearing voices and intentions to carry out a shooting at a military base.

The 40-year-old Card ultimately unleashed a barrage of gunfire using a rifle at a bowling alley followed by a bar in Lewiston, resulting in 18 fatalities and 13 injuries. Following a rigorous two-day manhunt that left the state in a state of high alert, Card was discovered deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Despite his previous threats, the FBI reported that Card was not on their radar, clarifying that they had neither received nor possessed any information regarding him. They also confirmed that their instant background check system did not contain any information that would have barred Card from legally purchasing a firearm.

The circumstances surrounding Card’s case highlight numerous overlooked warning signs, raising critical questions about potential preventive measures that could have been taken by the military, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and family members. While Maine lacks a red flag law, it does implement a “yellow-flag” law, which permits police to request a judge to order the removal of firearms from an individual if deemed a threat by a medical professional.

Chief Clements defended the actions of his department in response to the alert regarding Card, describing it as a standard notification about veiled threats made by an individual. He emphasized that his department frequently receives similar alerts and ensured that they addressed this particular notification with the attention it warranted, maintaining vigilance at the base for any signs of Card. “We had no interaction with this individual and received no calls from the reserve center reporting any issues,” he stated.

The New York State Police also had an encounter with Card on July 16 when they were called to West Point by the commanders of the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment due to concerns about Card’s erratic behavior and threats made against other members of his military unit during a training exercise. The State Police subsequently took Card to the Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point for a two-week mental health evaluation.

The actions taken by the New York State Police in response to Card’s threats remain unclear, as the agency has declined to comment on the ongoing investigation and has not provided access to reports or potential body-camera footage from their interactions with Card. “This is an active investigation, and we do not comment on ongoing investigations or those where we are not the lead agency,” the agency stated.

Jonathan Crisp, a former army lawyer with two decades of experience, highlighted that when soldiers are involuntarily admitted to mental health facilities by their superiors, it is considered a “reportable” event under Army regulations. This necessitates notifying other authorities, and a provost marshal is required to enter the incident into a military database to alert the FBI, potentially leading to the individual’s name being added to a background list preventing them from purchasing weapons. “If they had to take him in and he was resistant, it’s clear-cut,” Crisp stated. “This should have definitely been reported.”

However, Michael Sauschuck, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, pointed out in a press conference that while Card had a history of mental health issues, there was no evidence to suggest that he had ever been involuntarily committed. “It’s important to note that just because mental health is a factor in this situation, the overwhelming majority of individuals with a mental health diagnosis are not violent,” Sauschuck commented.

Jody Madeira, a law professor at Indiana University who has conducted extensive research on gun laws, explained that police in one state have the capability to alert their counterparts in another state if they deem someone to be a threat, and the military has the same ability to communicate with local police. She expressed her belief that there was a significant oversight in this case, as Card’s threats and his subsequent mental health evaluation should have activated a yellow flag, resulting in the seizure of his firearms upon his return home. “He was overlooked,” Madeira stated. “There were obvious warning signs.”

Saturday, October 28, 2023

U.S. Commerce Department Temporarily Halts Export Licenses for Civilian Firearms and Ammunition, Citing National Security Concerns

On Friday, the Commerce Department of the United States declared a temporary halt on the issuance of export licenses for a majority of civilian firearms and ammunition, including shotguns and optical sights, for a 90-day period, applicable to all non-governmental users. This decision was made with the intention of safeguarding national security and upholding foreign policy interests.

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The department has refrained from providing additional details about this interruption but has emphasized the necessity of conducting a prompt and thorough review. This evaluation aims to determine the potential risks associated with firearms being misdirected toward entities or activities that could potentially destabilize regions, infringe upon human rights, or contribute to criminal endeavors. The Commerce Department has chosen not to elaborate further on this matter beyond their online announcement.

According to Johanna Reeves, an attorney at Reeves & Dola in Washington specializing in export controls and firearms law, this suspension encompasses a large portion of firearms and ammunition that are available for purchase in U.S. gun stores. Reeves expressed that she has not witnessed such a comprehensive measure being taken by the Commerce Department in the past. "They have policies specific to individual countries – but nothing to this extent," she remarked.

However, it is important to note that export licenses for Ukraine, Israel, and certain other close allies will remain unaffected by this temporary suspension.

American firearm manufacturing companies such as Sturm Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson Brands, and Vista Outdoor might experience repercussions as a result of this export prohibition. The clientele affected by this suspension predominantly consists of distributors and retail outlets dealing in firearms outside of the United States.

During this 90-day period, exporters are still permitted to submit their license applications; however, these applications will be "held without action" until the suspension is lifted. The Commerce Department has clarified that export licenses issued prior to the suspension will remain valid and unaffected.

In instances where shipments are intended for government clients, exporters are required to precisely identify the end users. Conversely, applications that fail to specify government, military, or police end users will be "returned without action."

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Update: Active Shooter Incident in Maine Results in Mass Casualties, Hospital Reports

Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office released two photos of the suspect involved in the active shooting situation in Maine. (Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office)

State police have imposed a shelter-in-place directive in a city located in Maine due to an ongoing active shooter event.

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In a message disseminated via Facebook, the Maine State Police disclosed the occurrence of an active shooter situation in the city of Lewiston, home to approximately 36,000 residents, situated 35 miles to the north of Portland. The Lewiston Police Department has verified the incident, stating that the shooter targeted two establishments in the local area: Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant and Sparetime Recreation.

Central Maine Medical Center, a nearby hospital, has reported responding to an event involving multiple casualties and an active shooter. As of 9 p.m., the hospital has withheld specific details regarding the number of individuals affected.

"Central Maine Healthcare is presently in coordination with surrounding hospitals to manage the influx of patients," the medical center stated.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office has released two images of the suspected individual, who is depicted wearing a brown sweatshirt and brandishing a rifle.

At least 16 dead and 50+ injured as reported by CNN

Number of dead climbs to 22, shooter hit 3 locations as reported by Fox News

Authorities from the Lewiston Police Department have now pinpointed Robert R. Card, residing in Bowdoin, Maine, as a potential person of interest related to the shooting incident. Card, known to work as a firearms instructor, has been described by law enforcement as potentially “armed and dangerous.” 

On Wednesday evening, a statement was released through the police department's Facebook page, seeking assistance from the public. The post read: “We are actively seeking Robert Card (DOB: 4/4/1983) for questioning in connection to the mass shooting event at Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation earlier today. Please exercise caution, as Card is believed to be armed and dangerous. Any information regarding his whereabouts should be promptly communicated to law enforcement."

Update: 10/26/2023 9:28am EST

Officials engaged in law enforcement have acknowledged the possibility that Robert Card, who has been pinpointed by Maine authorities as a significant figure in the investigation of Wednesday night’s mass shooting, might be monitoring their activities. As reported by David Spunt of Fox News, citing a well-placed law enforcement official, there is a suspicion that Card might be using a police scanner to keep track of their operations. The Lewiston Police Department named Robert R. Card from Bowdoin, Maine, as a person of interest through a Facebook post on Wednesday night.

A shooting incident in Lewiston, Maine, resulted in the tragic loss of 22 lives, leaving an additional 30 individuals injured. The incident unfolded across two different venues on Wednesday night, according to information provided to Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich by a source in law enforcement.

Mike Sauschuck, Commissioner of Maine Public Safety, addressed the media in a press conference late Wednesday, opting not to disclose specific details about the number of victims due to the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the situation.

The manhunt for Card involves hundreds of police officers. Information has surfaced revealing that Card works as a firearms instructor and has a background in the military.

Recent developments also highlight Card’s struggles with mental health, as he has reportedly experienced auditory hallucinations and has allegedly expressed intentions to carry out a shooting at a National Guard base in Maine. These details come from a bulletin citing law enforcement sources. Card was also apparently admitted to a mental health facility for a two-week period over the summer.

The FBI has significantly increased its presence at the scene, deploying numerous agents to support local law enforcement efforts. SWAT teams have been activated and are presently on-site.

A vehicle that has attracted the interest of the authorities has been found in Lisbon.

A press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET, during which authorities plan to share updates on the ongoing investigation and the circumstances surrounding the mass shooting.

This story will be updated as more details become available.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Digital Satire in the Crosshairs: Unpacking the Unexpected Legal Battle Against Gun Memes and Manufacturers in 'Lowy v Daniel Defense'

The digital world of memes, a central part of online culture, is celebrated for its wit, irony, and sometimes, contentious viewpoints. However, it’s surprising to see this domain of online jesting intertwining with legal issues and the firearms sector. The individuals advocating for gun control anticipated this.

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It’s quite remarkable to observe that in a country where the Second Amendment is firmly rooted in its Constitution, legal actions are now being initiated against firearm producers for their promotional materials and light-hearted humorous content.

Let’s establish one thing unequivocally: firearms are not the direct cause of shootings; the responsibility lies with individuals.

In an unexpected turn of events, Karen Lowy, a survivor of the dreadful D.C. sniper incident in 2022, now equipped with legal representation presumably backed by gun-control organizations, has chosen to challenge various gun manufacturers in court. Termed “Lowy v Daniel Defense”, her legal claim is quite bold: she argues that the advertising strategies of these gun companies, inclusive of humorous memes, inadvertently “glorify violence,” resulting in her personal distress.

And thus, the narrative is set: memes are harmful.

To suggest that memes or promotional hashtags are the fundamental cause seems to be an overstretch. Advertising does not have the capability to manipulate individuals into committing violent acts. Such undertakings are more fitting for secretive governmental programs.

Famous American “patriot” firearms brands mentioned in the lawsuit include:
















- and JOHN DOES 1–20

Moreover, the companies listed in the legal claim are within their rights to promote their products as long as they adhere to legal regulations. It is our societal duty to prevent those with harmful intentions from accessing such potent weapons. Accusing promotional campaigns diminishes the real challenges related to gun violence.

For numerous firearms enthusiasts and proponents of the Second Amendment, this lawsuit represents another strike against their rights and traditions. As one of the last major U.S.-based manufacturing sectors not outsourced overseas, the firearms industry’s promotional strategies (including humorous content) should not be blamed for the heinous acts committed by deranged individuals.

Recent legal actions, such as those from the Sandy Hook victims’ families against Remington Arms and its advertising methods, paint a troubling scenario. It creates a situation where businesses could be held liable for the misdeeds of individuals misusing their products. Should automobile manufacturers be held accountable for every accident related to drunk driving due to their “glorification of speed” in advertisements?

Brace yourselves, because, in a move almost as absurd as the memes it highlights, this lawsuit has decided to bring internet jokes into the courtroom. That’s right, simple gun memes, exchanged among firearm enthusiasts with a good sense of humor, are now being wrongly interpreted as an endorsement of violence. Let’s make this clear: the memes in question are light-hearted takes on gun culture, intended to make us laugh rather than incite harm. They are as benign as a corny joke at a family gathering. Any rational person would recognize these memes for what they are: playful banter. However, for those unfamiliar or choosing to misinterpret, you are encouraged to read the lawsuit and judge for yourself. Try to spot the so-called ‘dangerous’ memes amidst the satire.

There are plenty more examples in the lawsuit, so be sure to read it thoroughly and share your thoughts online.

In times when context and humor are being sacrificed for outrage, standing up for our “right” to enjoy a good joke becomes more vital than ever. So, to my fellow gun enthusiasts, take this as a wake-up call that we need to amplify our online presence, not retreat.

Let’s be clear: a hashtag has never pulled a trigger. As devastating as these incidents are, it is crucial to place responsibility where it truly belongs, and not distort facts to fit a specific agenda.

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Monday, October 23, 2023

Larry Vickers Pleads Guilty in Federal Firearms and Sanction Violation Case: A Deep Dive into the Unraveling of a Tactical Legend


Larry Allen Vickers, a renowned combat veteran, advisor in the firearms sector, instructor in tactical operations, and a well-known figure on YouTube with a following surpassing a million, entered a guilty plea last week to a detailed federal indictment. The charges included accusations of being involved in illegal importation and procurement of machine guns and other regulated firearms, as well as violating U.S. sanctions against a Russian firearms producer.

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At 60 years of age, Vickers now potentially faces a prison sentence of up to 25 years, as disclosed in a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office located in Maryland. The court has yet to announce a date for his sentencing.

Vickers held significant influence in the firearms industry, notably in tactical equipment, due to his ideal blend of training, practical experience, and business insight. He played a role in Operation Acid Gambit, a mission aimed at rescuing Kurt Muse, a CIA agent, from imprisonment in Panama. Nowadays, such rescue operations are seldom even among elite military units.

He was frequently consulted by small arms producers for his expertise, contributing to the development and innovation of products for companies like Wilson Combat, Aimpoint, Glock, and notably, Heckler & Koch. His collaboration with Heckler & Koch resulted in the transformation of the M16, giving birth to the HK416 – a preferred weapon among special operations forces globally.

Furthermore, Vickers was known as a scholar and historian in firearms. His Vickers Guide series provided profound insights into various firearms, including the 1911, World War II German small arms, the AR-15, and two volumes dedicated to the AK-47. His advocacy for the AK-47 led to design improvements, enhancing the rifle's ergonomics.

Vickers also established himself as one of the nation’s top firearms instructors, with his teachings reaching wide audiences through television shows and YouTube. His courses were highly sought after, attracting civilians and law enforcement, despite some critiques on the dated nature of his training methods. As a Delta Force retiree, he was among the first to extend training to civilians.

His high profile and service did not escape the attention of federal law enforcement, including the ATF.

Federal agents conducted a raid on Vickers' home in October 2021, while he was undergoing cancer treatment. They confiscated 245 NFA weapons from his collection, with some considered to be irreplaceable museum pieces. The lapse in his Special Operation Tax (SOT) payment was initially believed to be the cause of the raid, but the recent federal indictment challenges this assumption.

The indictment unveils a conspiracy dating from June 2018 to March 2021, involving Vickers and others in the acquisition of machine guns and restricted firearms under false pretenses, misrepresenting the intended use of these firearms for law enforcement demonstrations.

Among the accused are Sean Reidpath Sullivan, owner of Trident LLC and associated with B&T USA; James Christopher Tafoya, owner of JCT Firearms and JCT Manufacturing in New Mexico; Matthew Jeremy Hall, former police chief of Coats, North Carolina; and James Sawyer, former police chief of Ray, North Dakota.

The court documents expose a scheme where law letters were manipulated and submitted to the ATF to facilitate the transfer of various restricted firearms, including B&T submachine guns, Swiss STG 90s, CH-Haenel short-barreled rifles, and various other firearms.

The indictment also addresses Vickers’ involvement in violating sanctions against the Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern. Despite the sanctions imposed in July 2014, Vickers and his associates purportedly engaged in transactions with the company, aiming to establish “American Kalashnikov,” with Vickers poised to be a key figure in the venture.

Vickers received over $46,000 in consulting fees from Kalashnikov Concern between November 2015 and July 2016.

The investigation of Vickers’ case was a collaborative effort involving the ATF, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigations, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

Erek L. Barron, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, acknowledged the commitment of two trial attorneys from the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Criminal Division in the press release, emphasizing their vital role in concluding the guilty plea of Larry Allen Vickers.

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Sunday, October 22, 2023

Israel Eases Firearm Restrictions and Arms Civilians in Response to Unprecedented Terrorist Assault, Promoting Community Defense


In the aftermath of a severe terrorist attack targeting civilians indiscriminately, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women, and children, Israel has decided to ease its firearm regulations, granting civilians access to weapons. As of the last update, the tragic event resulted in over 1,300 casualties, with at least 27 Americans among the deceased.

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Reported by the Times of Israel on October 10, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir disclosed a strategy to provide firearms to civilian security groups situated in border towns. The National Security Ministry has committed to supplying these groups with 10,000 rifles, protective vests, and helmets, extending its reach to mixed Jewish-Arab cities and West Bank settlements. Gvir emphasized the government’s commitment to reinforcing these civilian teams and expanding their presence across various regions to ensure robust community safety.

“This marks a turning point; we are revolutionizing our approach to ensure the safety of our towns and cities. I have directed an extensive armament of the civilian security teams to offer immediate solutions and leave no community unprotected,” Gvir stated.

The article also shed light on a critical issue from three years ago when the IDF decided to restrict access to certain firearms for civilian security teams, leaving them underarmed against heavily equipped terrorists. Some team members recounted their experiences during Hamas’s invasion, highlighting their struggles due to the lack of adequate weaponry.

Furthermore, there has been a noticeable spike in private firearm acquisitions, indicating a broader interest in personal safety across the citizenry. As reported by the Jerusalem Post on October 11, almost 8,000 Israelis applied for firearm licenses amid the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The National Security Ministry is responding to this surge by increasing its staffing levels at the firearm licensing department and streamlining the application process.

The ministry is shifting towards a more permissive licensing framework, ensuring that Israeli citizens who meet the necessary requirements can swiftly obtain a firearm license. This updated process includes a quick phone interview, with the promise of issuing the permit within a week’s time.

“Every resident in our cities should have the ability to acquire a firearm license. We are preparing for operation Guardian of the Walls 2, and we will ensure that firearms are accessible on every street corner,” Gvir assured.

The Reload, a U.S. firearm news outlet, highlighted two additional amendments to Israel’s firearm licensing regulations. These changes facilitate the acquisition of firearms for those who had a permit in 2023 but could not purchase a gun before their license expired, as well as allowing 1,800 citizens to reclaim firearms they had to surrender in the past six months due to training or renewal issues.

In light of these events, Israeli gun rights advocates have been outspoken about the necessity for civilians to have access to firearms, highlighting a surge in interest and advocacy for personal firearm ownership.

Rabbi Raz Blizovsky, a prominent activist, remarked, “The public’s mindset is shifting, and there is a growing recognition of the importance of being armed, especially in times of crisis. It’s regrettable that it took an incident of this magnitude to bring this issue to the forefront.”

Blizovsky took immediate action following the Hamas attack, establishing WhatsApp groups and an online petition, both of which gained significant traction within a short period, demonstrating the public’s demand for easier access to personal firearms.

Digital marketing agency CEO Yoel Israel, an active participant in libertarian political circles, expressed his frustration, stating, “The current situation is untenable, with terrorists and criminals being the ones armed, while law-abiding citizens are left defenseless.”

A heroic account from October 7, involving Inbar Lieberman, a 25-year-old security coordinator at Kibbutz Nir Am, exemplifies the potential impact of armed civilians during a crisis. Lieberman’s quick thinking and strategic deployment of her security team helped repel the attackers and protect the community, underscoring the crucial role of civilian firearm ownership in ensuring public safety.

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Friday, October 20, 2023

Texas-based Palestinian Asylum Applicant Arrested After TikTok Shows Him Using a Rifle; Federal Authorities Suspect Potential 'Attack' Plans

United States District Court Southern District of Texas

Palestinian Asylum Applicant in Texas Arrested for Displaying Firearm Activity on TikTok; Alleged Plans of 'Attack' Under Investigation

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The individual in question, Sohaib Abuayyash, 20, arrived in the US on a tourist visa in 2019 and later sought asylum in 2020.

Texas authorities apprehended a 20-year-old Palestinian asylum applicant named Sohaib Abuayyash on Thursday after he uploaded TikTok videos of himself discharging firearms, including a weapon resembling an AR-15. The prosecutors suggest he had been communicating with individuals of extreme views and could have been preparing for a hostile act.

The video that brought Abuayyash under the FBI's radar, dated Aug. 11, 2023, appeared to depict him discharging a rifle and multiple semi-automatic handguns at a Houston shooting range. The clip, which gained attention on TikTok, seemingly displays Abuayyash releasing 15 shots from the semi-automatic gun, followed by using two sidearms, as stated in the federal legal document disclosed Friday in Texas.

Around the two-minute mark of the footage, Abuayyash is seen holding the rifle, overlaid with an Arabic phrase that, when translated, reads: “Is it permissible to wed a weapon?”, as per the court records.

United States District Court Southern District of Texas

In a declaration submitted Thursday, an FBI representative stated that Abuayyash “has established direct links with individuals with extremist views, has been participating in physical workouts, and has undergone weapons training, perhaps with an intent to carry out an assault.”

However, the declaration doesn't specify which "extremist views" Abuayyash might adhere to or furnish specifics regarding any potential assault he might have been contemplating.

His visa conditions did not grant him the right to access or own firearms, as highlighted in the declaration.

Further examination revealed that, apart from his TikTok post, Abuayyash had also visited another shooting range in Saddle River Spring, Texas, accompanied by two individuals identified in legal papers as “AJ” and “MD.”

Upon analyzing security videos from the range on Sept. 17, 2023, agents observed Abuayyash discharging nine shots from a modern handgun equipped with optics, which AJ had purchased just a week earlier, as indicated in the declaration.

Charges against Abuayyash include illegal possession of a firearm by a non-citizen granted entry to the US on a temporary visa.

Following his preliminary hearing in a Houston federal court on Friday, he was detained, with another hearing set for the coming Tuesday.

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Larry Vickers from Vickers Tactical Facing Charges in Machinegun Acquisition Conspiracy


Sig Sauer

Federal authorities have indicted five individuals for allegedly conspiring to illicitly obtain machine guns and other controlled firearms. Those charged include Sean Sullivan, 38, from Gambrills, Maryland; Larry Vickers, 60, from Charlotte, North Carolina; James Tafoya, 45, from Albuquerque, New Mexico; Matthew Hall, 53, from Four Oaks, North Carolina; and James Sawyer, 50, from Ray, North Dakota.

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The case was publicized by US Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron, and officials from ATF, FBI, IRS-CI, and DHS OIG.

The indictment details that Hall and Sawyer held roles as Police Chiefs in North Carolina and North Dakota, respectively. Sullivan was affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and also ran Trident, LLC in Maryland. Both Sullivan and his company, along with Tafoya and Vickers, held the necessary federal licenses to engage in business involving certain specialized firearms under specific circumstances.

The authorities allege that from mid-2018 to early 2021, these individuals misrepresented their intentions, stating that the firearms would be showcased to police departments when, in fact, their intent was either personal use or resale. Sullivan is accused of presenting falsified documents to the ATF, following which he either retained or distributed the firearms to co-conspirators.

Furthermore, Larry Vickers has already admitted to his role in this conspiracy and another involving a violation of US sanctions against a foreign arms manufacturer. His sentencing, though yet unscheduled, could see him face up to 25 years in prison.

Should they be found guilty, the remaining defendants could face significant prison time for various charges, including conspiracy and false statement offenses related to firearm acquisition and documentation. Federal prison sentences often fall below the maximum allowable term, with the exact duration determined by a federal district judge considering sentencing guidelines and other relevant factors.

However, it is essential to note that an indictment does not equate to guilt; every defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.

The efforts of ATF, FBI, IRS-CI, and DHS-OIG were appreciated by US Attorney Erek L. Barron, who also acknowledged the legal team prosecuting the case. More resources and information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office can be found on the Department of Justice website.

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Texas Attorney General Paxton Challenges Major Banks over Anti-Gun and ESG Policies

Erika Rich/Texas Tribune

After overcoming charges of corruption and an impeachment effort, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is back in action. He's currently focusing on major banks, such as JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, alleging they are breaking Texas anti-discrimination laws. These laws prohibit banks from discriminating against firearm companies, enforcing certain environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures, or shunning businesses owned by Israelis.

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Paxton emphasizes the importance of supporting businesses related to energy and firearms in Texas and shows strong support for Israel, especially in light of recent attacks by Hamas.

According to Texas laws, banks involved in underwriting municipal bonds cannot differentiate between gun companies and other businesses. This means they can't decline doing business with gun companies due to disagreements with the products they offer. There's been significant push from gun control advocates urging these banks to sever ties with firearm businesses.

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas confronted Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, for discontinuing payroll services to firearm businesses. QuickBooks, a prominent accounting service for small and medium enterprises, reinstated its services after Senator Cruz's intervention. They claimed their decision was influenced by pressures from JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

Paxton's letter also draws attention to the Net Zero Banking Alliance, Institutional Shareholder Services, and Glass Lewis for their ESG standards. 

ESG standards prioritize social and environmental goals, sometimes at the expense of investor returns. Originating from an idea by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the "E" in ESG has led to bias against energy companies not aligned with "green" initiatives. The "S" has been associated with measures like Critical Race Theory (CRT) training and companies being forced to fund out-of-state abortions.

Paxton also highlights the issue of financial companies supporting the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement, which advocates for boycotting Israeli businesses. The BDS movement is supported by various individuals like Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Cori Bush. Paxton praises Israel as a significant ally of America and a symbol of freedom in the Middle East.

For Texas to pull investments from these banks like Citibank, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar would need to act. The call to action suggests contacting the Comptroller's office to advocate for this change.

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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Washington's King County Executive Initiates 'Office for Preventing Gun Violence'


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Supported by a Seattle-based billionaire's gun control advocacy group, King County Executive Dow Constantine of Washington has unveiled the establishment of a "Regional Office for Gun Violence Prevention," allocating $13.5 million for its initiation.

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Endorsed previously by a gun control organization, Constantine disclosed the news at a press conference on October 17. Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall, appointed by Constantine, pointed out the rising gun violence trends in the region.

King County data indicates a concerning uptick in gun violence: a 17% increase in reported gunshots, a 55% surge in shooting victims, and a staggering 76% rise in fatal shooting victims, as noted by KCPQ.

Reports from Ammoland News have documented the escalating gun violence in Washington, particularly in King County and Seattle. Though the figures may not seem alarming compared to cities like Chicago or Baltimore, they are notably high for the Pacific Northwest.

From the time the Alliance for Gun Responsibility began funding gun control initiatives in 2014, homicides in the state escalated from 172 in 2014 to 394 in 2022, based on the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs' report.

In Seattle alone, the homicide count since 2015 has doubled from 26 to 52 the previous year. The current year's death toll already surpasses the previous by a dozen, totaling 64 with two months still remaining.

Feedback from readers on the Seattle Times article regarding Constantine's declaration leans heavily toward skepticism. The article suggests the initiative aims to curb the rising shootings and killings, particularly in South King County. However, the prevalent sentiment believes the measures may only further restrict the rights of lawful citizens.

This surge in crime has correspondingly seen a rise in concealed pistol license applications in King County, which includes Seattle. Current figures from the state's Department of Licensing highlight that the county holds 111,332 of the state's 696,540 active CPLs, with women holding approximately 22% of those.

Echoing a similar initiative announced by President Joe Biden, which designated Vice President Kamala Harris in charge, Constantine's strategy seems to follow national trends. As Constantine commented, the tragic reality is that they are contending with a disaster that could have been avoided.

There's apprehension that this could turn into another tax-funded establishment echoing gun control motions in the 2024 legislative agenda.

Westside Seattle.com noted that King County's efforts have garnered recognition from the White House for their exemplary collaborative approaches. The newly formed office will collaborate closely with other national bodies to mobilize federal assets against gun violence.

However, many question the actual outcomes this office will achieve. Historical data hints at a continual rise in homicides, non-fatal shootings, and gunshot reports, with legitimate gun owners possibly facing more restrictions.

A statement from KING5 News, Seattle's NBC affiliate, cited Constantine's press release, stressing the necessity for collaboration to tackle gun violence. Yet, many argue that such pronouncements are merely rhetorical, lacking tangible results.

A comment from the Seattle Times encapsulates the prevailing mood: "Constantine's move is more about publicity, with no real positive impact anticipated. The main outcome might be more government jobs and a potential increase in Democratic voters."

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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

ATF Investigates Gun Shop for FRTs and Pistol Brace Sales

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) initiated an action against a gun outlet named Shooters Den for its alleged sale of forced reset triggers (FRTs) and pistols fitted with stabilizing tools.

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Previously, the store drew attention when they took possession of firearms that a private gun owner crafted, alleging they lacked serial numbers. The store's proprietor, Anthony Stephen, reported this to the ATF. While the firearm is now with the ATF as potential evidence, the authorities indicate the young firearm owner hasn't violated any regulations. However, the focus appears to be on the store, not the individual.

Shooters Den proposed to serially number the firearm, implying the individual, being below 21 years of age, wouldn't retrieve his firearm. Although individuals between 18 and 21 can own pistols, they can't undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) assessment for handguns. Serially numbered handguns obtained from a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer necessitate a NICS review.

Come March, the ATF commenced an examination into Shooters Den, in operation since 1986. During this scrutiny, the ATF reportedly discovered a rifle affixed with unauthorized equipment, resulting in the firearm's confiscation and a subsequent warning to Mr. Stephen. Despite this, it seems the store proceeded to offer products that the ATF has determined as unauthorized.

Furthermore, the ATF alleges that Shooters Den had in its inventory AR-style firearms equipped with pistol stabilizers. Earlier this year, the ATF adjusted its classification, viewing most pistols with such braces as short-barreled rifles (SBRs). It remains uncertain whether Shooters Den or its operators are affiliated with any firearm advocacy groups challenging this ruling.

Moreover, the store reportedly offered FRTs, seen by the ATF as machine gun modifiers. It's worth noting that there's a standing order preventing the ATF from acting against specific FRT models and their vendors, although the specific FRT brand in the store's inventory remains unspecified.

Additionally, the ATF alleges several other infractions. It suggests the store was manufacturing firearms without the requisite license and was possibly neglecting to conduct background checks. The latter could result in license revocation, more so under the current stringent administration policies. The store is further accused of tax discrepancies. Based on this, the ATF confiscated the store's entire inventory, effectively closing its operations. The exact legal implications for Mr. Stephen are yet to be determined.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Tragic Blast Occurs at Hornady Ammunition Manufacturing Site

A devastating blast occurred at the Hornady Manufacturing site near Grand Island, leading to the unfortunate death of an employee and injuring two more. The event took place on Friday, October 13, 2023, and has deeply affected the local community and authorities.

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The explosion happened around 9:47 a.m. in the PVE West Building. The Cairo Fire Department, first on the scene, found the aftermath of the explosion, which, based on initial inquiries, happened during the primer compound mixing process.

Adriana Alvarez, a 32-year-old from Grand Island and a Hornady Manufacturing staff member, was identified by the Nebraska State Fire Marshal Agency as the individual who lost her life. The Teaching Tree childcare facility in Grand Island shared, “We are heartbroken; a young child has lost her mother in this tragedy.” While emphasizing the profound loss, The Teaching Tree also highlighted the beautiful memories Adriana left behind, noting her deep love for her family.

Two of Alvarez's colleagues were also affected by the explosion. Fortunately, after receiving medical attention - one self-transported and the other via an ambulance - both were discharged the same day.

Team Hornady took to Twitter to share their grief: “Our hearts are heavy for our colleague, their family, and the entire Hornady team. The support we've received as we mourn the loss of a team member has been overwhelming.” They also clarified that the incident was limited to the primer facility and did not impact other production areas.

While thorough investigations by the authorities labeled the explosion as unintentional, it serves as a sobering reminder of the inherent dangers associated with the manufacturing sector that supplies essential components in upholding our Second Amendment rights.

Hornady Manufacturing, a respected entity in Grand Island, has always prioritized safety in its ammunition production. This unfortunate incident, however, will leave a lasting impact on the company.

The timely and coordinated response from multiple agencies, including the Cairo Fire Department, Alda Fire Department, Wood River Fire Department, Grand Island Rural Fire Department, Hall County Attorney’s Office, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal Agency, played a crucial role in managing the situation with sensitivity.

The magnitude of this event has drawn widespread media attention, both locally and nationally.

As the gun community begins to heal from this tragic event, it is vital to extend our sincere sympathies to those impacted, especially the Hornady family.

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Monday, October 16, 2023

ATF Seeks to Muzzle Gun Owners of America Advocacy Group


In 2021, AmmoLand News disclosed documents that indicated the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had been using the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to surveil Americans without proper authorization. Often, these individuals were monitored solely based on associations rather than concrete evidence of misconduct. This revelation prompted the Gun Owners of America (GOA) to seek further details via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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In a 2021 exposé, reporter John Crump unveiled that leaked ATF records showed a secretive surveillance operation targeting numerous legal gun buyers. This was accomplished by monitoring all gun transactions processed through the NICS system, as detailed by GOA.

After facing potential legal actions and a year of persistence, ATF released some information concerning the initiative. However, inconsistencies in redaction led GOA to seek complete versions of these records. Upon realizing their oversight, the ATF pressed GOA to erase all obtained records.

Yet, GOA resisted. They had legally received the documents from ATF and believed they had every entitlement to retain and utilize them for public awareness regarding unauthorized surveillance. In a subsequent move, the ATF sought a legal directive against GOA, demanding the deletion of the records and a commitment to silence.

This situation mirrored a prior incident involving AmmoLand News in the AutoKey Card case. In that instance, backed by GOA-funded legal support from Stephen Stamboulieh, AmmoLand News successfully resisted ATF's efforts to silence them. Now, with the tables turned, GOA has enlisted Stamboulieh to challenge another ATF attempt at suppression.

GOA firmly maintains that since they legally acquired the documents, they have full rights over them. They are willing to eliminate personal details like social security numbers but will resist a comprehensive deletion mandate. They allege that ATF's primary intention is to conceal their clandestine surveillance.

GOA's legal briefing emphasizes the importance of upholding First Amendment rights, highlighting the extraordinary nature of ATF's request and labeling it as potentially unconstitutional.

While ATF asserts a motive of privacy protection for its subjects, GOA counters this by pointing out the inherent irony. The ATF's very operation intrudes upon individual privacy. GOA's intention is to make these records available to Congress, suggesting that ATF might be keen on keeping this information away from its regulators.

GOA's briefing also notes, "It's a profound paradox that while ATF claims to safeguard gun owners' privacy, they are the very entity spying and collecting personal data on these individuals." GOA has urged the judiciary to uphold their First Amendment rights and dismiss ATF's claims against public interest.

With the ATF fervently attempting to suppress details about this operation, many are left pondering, "What is the ATF concealing?"

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